Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development (GPPD)

The annual Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development (GPPD) seminar series covers a range of topics that are of interest to trainees including abstract writing, job search skills, poster presentation skills, and career opportunities.

GPPD topics are organized by core competencies that are nationally recognized in graduate education. We continue to consult with faculty and students to develop additional GPPD seminars to align with programmatic and student needs.


To assist students and postdoctoral scholars in tracking and sharing their skills acquisition, the Graduate School has instituted micro-credentialing, wherein GPPD seminar attendees earn credentials or digital "badges" for the knowledge and skills they acquire from the GPPD series and related activities. Micro-credentials are shareable on personal LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Mozilla Backpack pages to show off skills that are highly desired by employers but may not be apparent from a transcript or diploma. Learn more about micro-credentials.

Winter 2020 Schedule of GPPD Events

RSVP to GPPD events                                                                                                      Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Symposium

How to Apply for Graduate School Funding

Noon to 1:30 p.m., January 21, 2020 in the UGL Community Room, 3rd floor

Want to apply for Graduate School funding but don't know what makes a competitive application? We'll tell you! Application deadlines are coming up soon. Come hear about best practices when it comes to applying for the Graduate Professional Scholarship (MA and PhD students), King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship (PhD only) and other funds, including thesis and dissertation research funds and incentives for applying for external fellowships (rolling deadline).

Session leader: Sharon Lean, associate dean of student success for the Graduate School 

graphic design badgeVisual Communication in Science

4 to 5:30 p.m., February 5, 2020 in the UGL, Community Room

Communicating well about ideas, processes, and results is as critical to the work of science as data collection, analysis, etc. The effective use of visual information is indispensable in scientific communication. Using examples of scientific diagrams, tables, and illustrations, this presentation will discuss the "hierarchy of information" and the kinds of visual signaling that make it work. This seminar will include both lecture and workshop time. Participants are asked to bring 3 printed examples and data from their own research that they want to make into a diagram. 

Session Leader: Judith A. Moldenhauer, professor for art and art history

Target audience: PhD and postdocs 

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Recognize the visual qualities that make good, effective scientific diagrams.
  • Know the importance of the hierarchy of information to data in the creation of effective diagrams.
  • Articulate the one main thing they want to communicate with data through in a diagram.
  • Create a diagram that communicates one main point by effectively presenting data using the visual hierarchy of information.

Fellowship Writing

Noon to 1:30 p.m., February 18, 2020 in the UGL, Community Room 

Learn how to apply for funding and what review panels are looking for in competitive applications. 

Session leaders: Sokol TodiTodd Leff and Sharon Lean, associate deans for the Graduate School; Lara Jones, associate professor of behavioral cognitive neuroscience; and Donna Kashian, associate professor for biological sciences

Target audience: PhD and postdocs 

teaching portfolio badgeCreating a teaching portfolio

4 to 5:30 p.m., March 5, 2020 in the UGL Community Room, 3rd floor

Teaching portfolios can serve as a particularly useful communication tool during the academic job search. Portfolios offer a way to communicate to potential colleagues your preparation and commitment to student learning and teaching. In this workshop, we will explore the purpose of and most common elements of a teaching portfolio, the steps to preparing your own, and identify campus resources to help you complete your own portfolio it in a timely and efficient manner. 

Session leader: Tonya Whitehead, associate director for the Office of Teaching and Learning

Target audience: PhD students and postdocs 

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the purpose of a teaching portfolio.
  • Identify the key ingredients to incorporate into a teaching portfolio.
  • Identify the essential elements of an effective statement of teaching philosophy. 
  • Create a teaching portfolio following an organized strategy.

Writing research statements 

Noon to 1:30 p.m., March 19, 2020 in the UGL Community Room, 3rd floor 

A strong research statement is a key component of a successful job search in academia or at other research-intensive institutions. In this seminar, we will learn what a research statement is, what components it should contain, how long it should be, the importance of good writing and background research, and what constitutes a winning research statement. This will be a hands-on seminar, with writing exercises and the opportunity to compare research statements written by others. 

Session leader: Peter Hoffmann, professor of physics 

Target audience: PhD students and postdocs 

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Explain the important role of research statements in job applications.
  • Identify the essential components of a research statement.
  • Apply professional writing techniques.
  • Compose strong professional research statements.
  • Critically examine and compare research statements to understand how they may be evaluated by potential reviewers.

Careers Outside of Academia

4 to 5 p.m., April 7, 2020 in the UGL, Community Room 

As graduate students and doctoral graduates, you are among the most well-educated members of society. You have tremendous strengths and skills that are transferable outside academia. Hear from a panel of successful mid-career professionals with non-traditional career trajectories who have worked outside academia. 

Session leader: Tonya Matthews, director of STEM learning innovation and associate provost for inclusive workforce development

Target audience: PhD students and postdocs

GPPD archive
View past events, download presentation materials and listen to recorded audio.